Monday, February 4, 2013

American Kennel Club names most popular breeds

It's the Labrador Retriever for the 22nd year in a row! But here's a link to the entire story, including photos of a golden retriever puppy named Gibbs and a German Shepherd named Klingon Commander! Where does your favorite breed rank? (Knowing, of course, that every one of our dogs, of any variety at all, are our own favorites. We love 'em, don't we? )

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


From our friends at Chicken Run Rescue, and re-printed with their permission.

Strong winds, sub-zero temperatures and dangerous wind chills are predicted for the next week in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Area. These conditions are extremely dangerous to chickens and other domestic fowl. Domestic chickens are all descended from wild jungle fowl native to a habitat that is spacious, richly vegetated, diverse and warm. Winter in Minnesota is as far from a tropical jungle as you can get.

Chickens need protection in cold weather. The optimal temperature range for chickens is “Minimum Temperature 55°(f) , maximum temperature 70°(F)”* Below 32 degrees birds are uncomfortable and cannot maintain body temperature. Below 15 degrees frostbite begins, and hypothermia increases.

Signs of hypothermia include, shriveled and pale face, comb and wattles, head tucked into shoulders, fluffed feathers, shivering, huddled and inactive.

Frostbite can take weeks to become apparent long after the damage and injury has occurred. If the extremities of the toes, comb and wattles are cold to the touch but are warm closer to the body, take action. Its best to know that frostbite can and does occur and prevent it in the first place. It is necessary to allow the damage to run its course to determine where the healthy tissue stops and the dead tissue starts before amputation. The birds are given a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory for the pain, and antibiotics and food based immune supplements to manage infection. They are kept quiet in a warm, clean area with soft bedding to reduce the chance that they will break off the frostbitten appendages prematurely if there is too much physical activity. They also receive weekly laser therapy which speeds up the healing process remarkably.

Signs of frostbite include pale and swollen comb, wattles and toes, bleeding of comb and wattles as blood vessels rupture, exposed skin tissue on head and feet that turns yellow then black and crusty as blood supply shuts down and tissue dies- painfully.

The photos in this album document the early, mid and final stages of frostbitten birds we have rescued. When subzero temperatures are predicted, get the chicken to a warm environment immediately. Hypothermic birds can go into shock and die quickly. They need extra calories and fresh water. In severely cold weather. Bring them into the house or a heated garage. Your bird will be very comfortable in and grateful for a medium sized dog carrier with soft clean bedding and hook on dishes for food and water brought into the warmth of your house.

An unheated and uninsulated coop is deadly and cruel. Fluid filled safety heaters are completely closed and sealed systems. The fluid is heated from within and the heat is radiant so there are no exposed heating elements that create dangerous problems. Heaters should be caged to protect birds from direct contact and secured to prevent tipping. Heat lamps are a fire hazard and the bulbs may burn out unexpectedly. Fluid filled heaters can be purchased for the price of two heat lamp bulbs, are safer and have thermostats to regulate the temperature. Smoke alarms are also highly recommended. Extra clean, dry bedding should also be available to keep animals warm and comfortable in cold seasons. Heat lamps and bulbs are not sufficient heat sources.

Consult your veterinarian if you suspect hypothermia or frost bite.

--Mary Britton Clouse, Chicken Run Rescue, 2013

Friday, January 18, 2013


Pet people all understand the value of our bonds with our companion animals, and how they enrich our lives.  And here's a tale about a chicken named Cluck Cluck,  who saved the day for her owners in Wisconsin. 

Read the story....

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Socialize your puppy! Really!

We liked this recent article published in the Modesto Bee and re-printed in the Star Tribune.   Socializing puppies is a critical part of owning a dog, and pays off big benefits throughout your companion's life.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Well, it's really winter now!

...and that means remembering special care for our outside or often-outside pet companions.   Here are a few tips to keep in mind!  And do call us with any questions at all;  we are happy to consult.

We Minnesota humans are well-stocked with polar fleece, gore-tex, good boots and headgear, and it's good to remember that a pet's fur coat is not the equivalent of the way we bundle up when the wind roars and the sleet is pelting down.

 Being outdoors in the winter can be a lot of fun, but it is important to keep in mind that dogs are susceptible to frostbite, hypothermia (low body temperature), and other cold-weather hazards. Dogs that live outdoors in the winter need special attention to protect them from the wind, rain, and cold.

Hypothermia can affect normal body functioning and produce injury or, eventually, death. Fresh, unfrozen water must be available at all times. If your dog has a dog house or igloo, make sure the interior is insulated. Safe heated mats, along with a good layer of straw, are an option that can help keep your dog warm and comfortable.

Dogs that live outside should be able to come inside when they want to. Old or sick dogs should be kept indoors when possible and monitored closely for signs of illness. Even a dog that is used to being outside can suffer hypothermia and frostbite. If severe winter storm warnings or extreme cold weather alerts recommending that humans stay indoors are issued in your area, it is a good idea to bring your dog indoors, too. If your dog cannot be brought indoors, a garage or mud room can provide enough shelter in some cases.

Chemicals like ice melts and salts, antifreeze, and windshield wiper fluids can all be toxic and cause serious complications if dogs eat or drink them. Ice melts and salts can stick to the bottom of dogs’ paws, so it is best to wash your dog’s feet after he or she has been outdoors. Methanol and ethylene glycol, the toxic ingredients in windshield wiper fluid and antifreeze, can cause permanent kidney damage and even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if dogs are left in cars with the motor running or in a garage with a running car.

Going for walks in the winter can be invigorating, but it is best to keep dogs away from frozen water. Dogs can fall through thin ice into freezing water and may suffer hypothermia or drown.

Many of the same things apply for our feline friends
Once temperatures start to dip below the freezing point, remember that any outdoor water will freeze. Cats need a constant supply of fresh, unfrozen water. For outdoor cats that only have access to outdoor water, heated water bowls can be used to keep water from freezing. If an electrical source is not available, water should be kept in a covered, enclosed space to prevent it from freezing quickly. Dog igloos filled with straw work well for outdoor cats, giving them a warm place to eat, drink, and keep dry from the winter elements. Heated pet mats are also helpful and will help a cat retain its body temperature, which is especially important for old or sick cats. It is important to only use heated products that are approved for pets.

Cats that spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter months use more calories in order to stay warm. Giving your cat a higher-quality, protein-rich food will help him or her stay warm and healthy. If your cat has any medical problems, consult your veterinarian before making any diet changes.

Outdoor cats may seek warmth under car hoods and can be injured or killed by the car’s fan belt. Before getting into your car, knock loudly on the hood to ensure that a cat is not hiding beneath.
The same as with our dog companions, cats that are used to being outside can suffer hypothermia and frostbite. If severe winter storm warnings or extreme cold weather alerts recommending that humans stay indoors are issued in your area, it is a good idea to bring your cat indoors, too. If your cat cannot be brought indoors, a garage or mud room can provide enough shelter in some cases.

Along with beautiful fluffy banks of snow, winter brings chemical hazards for our companion animals. 

Also known as ethylene glycol, antifreeze is probably one of the most common and dangerous winter toxins. Antifreeze is highly toxic, and cats are sometimes attracted to its sweet smell and taste. Once a cat drinks antifreeze, the toxin is rapidly absorbed, and signs such as vomiting, loss of coordination, and depression can appear within 1 hour. The kidneys are most severely affected by antifreeze, and even if signs start to improve with treatment, they may have already started to shut down. Acute kidney failure can occur within 12 to 24 hours after ingestion of antifreeze, so it is important to take your cat to the vet immediately if you suspect he or she has drunk even a small amount of antifreeze.

Salt and Chemical Ice Melts
Cats that walk on sidewalks or pathways that have been de-iced can have chapped, dry, painful paws. Also, because cats tend to lick their paws, they can be exposed to toxic chemicals found in some ice melts. Pet-safe ice melt products can be purchased at most home improvement and pet stores. However, not everyone in the neighborhood may use these products, so it is important to wash your cat’s feet with a warm cloth after he or she comes in from being outside.